FALKNER • North Tippah Superintendent Bill Brand said rumors of a bomb threat made against Falkner Elementary School are false.
Tippah County Sheriff's Department was called to the school at 8:43 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 to inspect a suspicious box that a child had brought to school.
Brand said students were never in any danger and that no threat was ever made against the students or the school. He said a teacher noticed that a student had a new box and asked him about it. He said that there was nothing in the box which made the teacher suspicious. She opened the box to find three batteries taped to the inside of the box with scotch tape and a computer hard drive.
At this point the teacher took the student and box to the office and Principal Angela Harris called Brand and the TCSD.
"I wouldn't call it a bomb threat," said Sheriff Karl Gaillard. Gaillard said the box contained no explosives and reaffirmed that the boy never threatened anyone. He said the boy was 9 or 10 years old and he did not know why the boy brought the box to school.
Brand said that a disciplinary hearing was held, but the boy was withdrawn from school and has not returned since the incident. He was told the boy moved out of state.
"The teachers did a good job and the principal did a good job handling the incident," said Brand.
"We did not want to alarm people over a situation that did not call for it," continued Brand on why teachers and parents were not notified. "Students were not ever in danger. There were at least four people, including law enforcement, that saw the box. Everyone came to the same conclusion - it was not a bomb. We had an opportunity to have a normal day of school without disrupting everyone and that is what we chose to do."
Jonathan Weatherly, who has two children at FES and one who will be starting next year, said he is really concerned that parents and teachers were not notified about the possible explosive device. He said that his children's safety is top priority and believes the principal and superintendent did not keep the children safe. He feels they were trying to cover up the situation.
"I do understand that contacting parents during the situation would have done more harm than good, but they should have been notified afterwards along with faculty and other staff members," said Weatherly.
Weatherly also believes that other classrooms and buildings should have been searched for additional threats or weapons as a preventive measure. He said he was told that some children have been fearful to return to school since the incident. He expressed his concerns to the North Tippah School Board Thursday night.
Brand said that he called the Mississippi Department of Education and the FBI about the situation and that the organizations said the district handled the situation correctly.